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Childhood in the digital age
Childhood in the digital age

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3.3 Navigating the digital landscape

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Figure 8 Technology provides access to many social connections.

Digital technology and virtual environments are providing exciting opportunities for children to explore their own identities and establish new connections with friends and peers. You have considered whether digital technology is providing new opportunities for children’s social awareness, such as establishing friendship groups and forming new identities, or whether it is in fact hindering children’s social development.

We know that digital technology and virtual worlds can potentially enrich children’s social lives and social development in quite innovative ways, something that is clearly emphasised by Jim Taylor writing in the Huffington Post:

Every day in so many ways, this new technological landscape brings many wonderful benefits to our family’s lives and relationships. At the same time, as with any new innovations, this impact has a dark side.

(Taylor, 2013, p. 1)

Activity 4

Has your thinking changed as a result of this week’s study? Review your thinking – what were your views about children’s social development in a digital landscape before this week? If any of them have changed, why is this?

In the next week you will continue to explore the exciting benefits of digital technology, with a focus on children’s cognitive development and how they acquire the skills to learn about the world around them.